Complaints procedure

If you are unhappy with the service you have received from the Government Legal Department please contact the relevant head of the division who will try to resolve any problem quickly. You should receive a substantive response within 10 working days of receipt of your complaint. If this is not possible, we will tell you when you can expect our reply.

Division Contact

Or by post to the named person at:

Government Legal Department
One Kemble Street
London WC2B 4TS

Complaints regarding the Bona Vacantia Division should be sent to:


Caroline Harold
Government Legal Department
Bona Vacantia Division
PO Box 2119
Croydon CR90 9QU

If you prefer you can email the Treasury Solicitor directly at and your complaint will be passed to the relevant Head of Division. If you remain unsatisfied with our response the Treasury Solicitor, Jonathan Jones, will review the handling of your complaint.

Complaints to the ombudsman

If you are still unhappy after the department’s reply to your complaint and you feel that you have sustained injustice as a result of maladministration, you may wish to consider an approach to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (the ombudsman), who investigates complaints made by members of the public about government departments and other bodies. To do this, you will need to make your complaint in writing to an MP who can refer it to the ombudsman, with your consent, with a request that an investigation be conducted.

There are some complaints on which the ombudsman does not have jurisdiction to investigate. For example:

  • the investigation of crime, judges’ decisions or matters relating to national security
  • staff issues – such as recruitment, pay and discipline
  • commercial or contractual issues, except where they involve the compulsory purchase of land

In other cases, there may be another more appropriate organisation to deal with your complaint, for example for some complaints the only or best way for you to get the remedy you want may be through going to court or to a tribunal.

We recommend you call the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman on 0845 015 4033 to check that they can help with your complaint and for advice on filling in your form.

Examples of maladministration

This is a list of just some of the things which the ombudsman might find to constitute maladministration:

  • avoidable delay
  • faulty procedures or failing to follow correct procedures
  • not telling you about any rights of appeal you have
  • unfairness, bias or prejudice
  • giving advice which is misleading or inadequate
  • refusing to answer reasonable questions
  • discourtesy, and failure to apologise properly for errors
  • mistakes in handling your claims
  • not offering an adequate remedy where one is due

This list is not intended to be a comprehensive definition of maladministration.